HAVERFORD >> Heather Lazer knows what she wants to do when she grows up.
The recent Haverford High graduate participated in a program at school that allowed her to job shadow at Bryn Mawr Hospital.
Pretty cool, right?
“I was always interested in medicine in general,” she said. “I got to work with all these different units. When I shadowed with a physical therapist, I was able to see and observe all the work they do inside of the hospital and how they work to repair muscles and bones, and just helping people get back on their feet. I saw what the other doctors had to do in other units … and realized that physical therapy is my thing.”
Lazer will attend Ursinus College in the fall, where she will pursue a degree in physical therapy. Oh, and she’s also going there to hit softballs and give opposing pitchers nightmares.
This season, Lazer was so well-respected she garnered the most first-place votes by Central League coaches when they made their all-league selections, a remarkable 66 out of 66 possible points.
The love for Lazer didn’t stop with All-Central League, either. Her reputation as a fantastic softball player was known throughout the county, making Lazer the 2017 Daily Times Player of the Year.
A two-time All-Delco, Lazer is the first Softball Player of the Year from Haverford since Katie Reisch in 2001.
The rest of the All-Delco softball team, selected after consultation with local coaches, includes Agnes Irwin’s Michala Maciolek, Cardinal O’Hara’s Annemarie Banes and Maura Kane, Delco Christian’s RonnieMarie Falasco, Garnet Valley’s Lindsey Hunt, Haverford’s Ali Murphy, Interboro’s Bridget Bailey and Amber Seamen, Sun Valley’s Kenzie Lewis and Upper Darby’s Sam Witmer.
Witmer, Banes, Seamen, Maciolek and Lewis are repeat All-Delco selections.
Lazer is the ultimate softball player. She is a tremendous all-fields hitter who can bat anywhere in the lineup. She has speed. And best of all, perhaps, is her ability to play a lot of positions.
On this year’s All-Central League and All-Delco teams, there are specific positions assigned to each player. Except next to Lazer’s name is the word “utility.” While she mostly played first base, Lazer’s versatility made her an MVP. She could play all infield positions, a little outfield, and even pitched several games on varsity throughout her career.
Lazer’s knack for playing multiple positions began when she was an 11-year-old with the Delco Rage travel organization.
“They never want you to be set at one position, they want you to play an outfield position or an infield position, to try you at different spots because it makes you a more valuable player,” Lazer said. “I owe that to (Rage coaches) Mr. (Tom) Grogan and Mr. (Bob) Newman. Mr. Grogan was responsible for all of my fundamentals as a player, but Mr. Newman was the one who (pushed me to try different positions). He put me in a bunch of different positions so that I could be more familiar with them, and that really helped me as I got older.”
Lazer was encouraged to try out for the Rage, despite being a full year younger than all the other kids. She made the team and has played for the organization ever since.
“My friend came to me and said, ‘Why don’t you try out for this team?’ I thought, well, OK but I don’t know if I’ll make it,” she said. “I ended up making the team as an 11-year-old. My parents were so happy. I didn’t realize how much it would impact me until about seven years later.”
By the time she got to high school, Lazer was adept at manning several positions on the diamond.
“Whenever someone would get hurt, or couldn’t play, the coaches would say, ‘Heather, go to the outfield.’ And I’m, like, whatever … I’ll do whatever it takes to help the team,” she said. “First base is probably my favorite. I’ve been playing it since I was little, it’s just something I gravitated to when I was a kid and I’ve always loved playing the position.”
On the way to earning team MVP for the third consecutive year, Lazer guided the 2017 Fords to a Central League title by hitting .480 with a .560 on-base percentage and .813 slugging percentage. Batting leadoff, she collected 36 hits, including seven doubles, nine triples and a home run. Lazer played first base, shortstop, third base and pitcher for the Fords.
And at the plate? Oftentimes Lazer would hit a lot of, ahem, lasers to the outfield…
“I just want to make contact with the ball and hit it hard,” she said. “Before I go up to bat I make sure to check around the field and see where people are playing. I try to hit it where they’re not.”
Although the Fords enjoyed a tremendous regular season, they were eliminated in the second round of the District 1 Class 6A playoffs as the No. 8 seed, falling 9-4 to No. 9 Quakertown.
“Before that game, we had the week off where we were practicing really hard,” she said. “I think when we got to that game, we wanted it so bad but it ended up not going our way. It was one of those games where we put everything into it but it didn’t go our way.”
The early exit in the playoffs certainly didn’t ruin Lazer’s senior season. The Central League championship is something to cherish for a long time.
“Winning the Central League was definitely a big, memorable moment,” Lazer said. “We had all the seniors crying out of joy. It was a great moment.
“I think having the team together all season … it was a great group of girls. We got along really well and we had a lot of fun. I’ll really miss playing with them.”
And Haverford is sure to miss Heather Lazer.